I had painful natural births, but the WORST pain I have ever had was an from an infection after having my wisdom teeth removed. Horrible horrible. Way worse. I thought my face was going to explode.
My broken tailbone hurt way more and for much longer.
Breaking my arm when I was 8. It was a severe compound fracture in my left arm. They had given me a local but it was like a weird torture. They had a wire thing that my thumb, pointer and middle finger were suspended from, they gave me a local, but by that point I was in hysterics. The doctor told me that if I didn't calm down my parents would have to leave the room. I did my best, but then he held my arm, looked at me and said 'This is going to hurt."
It's a memory I have that plays like it's from Harry Potter. It leaves me scared and eventually goes white with the sound of me screaming.
There was this one time when I thought it would be a good idea to run a long distance race without properly training for it. The first 6 miles were great, but the next three got a little rough. Afterwards my guts were in terrible shape. I spent the next 4 hours wishing I was in labor because then at least I would have gotten breaks here and there (and my only labor at that point was a cytotec induction that wasn't very fun). My last labor was one of those rediculously easy, pain-free ones, so basically any type of pain is worse now.
Getting checked by the nurse mid-contraction. To this day I could smack the guy (yes it was a man and I yes I was telling him to stop. Totally ignored me).
Granted, birth is still way more painful tha I'd like, but its not going to be quite so bad this time (or so I tell myself) because I am determined not to be so afraid and push myself into tearing. That hurt! Its also got the upside of being a fond, proud memory (not getting into the birthing debates here, just saying, I'm proud of myself for doing it, even if it was a rather ugly and unflattering kodak moment).
Gall stones/gallbladder attack!!! so much intense pain that didnt let up, at least contractions give you a break. Also, have packing removed from my nose after sinus surgery, quick but painful!!
I'm torn between my tonsillectomy and diverticulitis.
I had my tonsillectomy at age 19, it resulted in a bruised tongue for over a month, dislocated jaw and extreme pain throughout my throat. You don't realize how much saliva you swallow until you have your tonsils out. I could not eat for 3 weeks, and drinking was like swallowing a cup of nails. Especially trying to take the horse sized pain pills they gave you.
I have had 2 diverticulitis attacks in the past 18 months. Both of them resulted in extreme abdominal and rectal pain. I think I remember telling my boyfriend I would rather be having a baby right now as he drove me to the E.R. For all that don't know diverticulitis is an infection in your intestines, resulting from pouches being formed from all the pressure. Since I am only 27 I will most likely end up having part of my intestines and colon removed in the future.
I was in labor for 14 hours before they gave me a c-section. I had an epidural that only numbed my left leg from my knee down to my foot. Apparently it was placed wrong. After my c section my doctor realized that I have a very narrow pelvis. This surprised me since I have huge hips! He said there was no way for my 9lb 5oz baby to come out, I would probably have a problem delivering a 5lb baby vaginally. Recovery from my c section was quick and easy.
Really, really bad papercuts.
Migraines. I've had them since I was 11 years old and have come to know levels 7, 8, and 9 of the 1-10 pain scale intimately, but I never ranked any pain a 10, figuring that it was possible to experience worse pain than I ever had.
Natural childbirth hit level 9 at the peak of some contractions, but none of those peaks lasted more than 20 seconds. I had at least a dozen prior experiences of migraines battering me with level 9 for 30-90 MINUTES without stopping, so labor was easy to tolerate by comparison.
Six years after my son was born, I had a migraine that went to Level 10. I was right about the existence of Level 10. I was there for hours and brought down only by the ER injecting me with an off-label schizophrenia drug. I hope never to experience Level 10 again.
Having the placenta manually extracted during 3rd stage was just as bad or worse than pushing contractions, and it didn't help that 1. it wasn't regular or predictable, at least I could count through a contraction and have an idea how long it would be until the next, and 2. I was sitting up and holding my son, and didn't have the opportunity to change positions to a position that might have been better. Maybe that would have been a good situation to wait on the 'hold the baby and bond' thing, and let dad hold him instead.
I'm too young to know just yet. Labour was hard enough, but I could imagine that the pain from kidney stones would be absolutely terrible.
Getting my period with my copper IUD was hands down the worst pain I've ever experienced. And stupid me left that thing in for over 6 months thinking my body would eventually adjust. DH would find me on the floor of the bathroom unable to move. Appendicitis (I was 17 y/o) was also a debilitating, can't move kind of pain. I still think the IUD was worse. Back labor, even labor augmented with pitocin was nothing in comparison thanks to hypnobirthing!
Dislocating my knee (and the 2 days of muscle spasms that ensued) was about 1 million times more painful than my 20-hour all natural labor and home birth of my 1st son and about 2 million times more painful than my 12-hour all natural labor and home birth of my 2nd son. I swear, labor just felt like hard menstrual cramps up until the point when the baby's head was coming out both times. Yeah the "ring of fire" is painful, but even that was quicker and more bearable than dislocating my knee.
Coughing with a cracked rib hurt worse - sharp stabbing pain is worse than labor contractions. My first labor was 20 hrs including a very long pushing stage. Labor was like running a marathon in short sprints. The stretching and some tearing during crowning came close to the same level of pain but it was not as painful as the searing stab of pain with every cough when my rib was cracked. My second labor was only 3 hours and those contractions were a lot tougher than with the long labor because they were so powerful with hardly any rest but crowning was much easier and the whole thing was over almost before I realised I was so far along! Pain is also so much about the mindset. With the cracked rib I was scared and panicky - struggling for any way to suppress the cough and escape the pain. With labor I felt strong, well supported by my midwives my husband and my mother and I felt committed to what I was doing. I guess that makes a big difference.
I asked this question to my Lamaze classes over several decades; The answers to what is the most pain you have ever felt (in comparison to what they feared about labor) I got these replys:
A paper cut from thick paper
a Dad, former soldier with shrapnel embedded in his abdomen. Pulled up his shirt to show classmates all the tiny scars.
The most frequent response was a root canal or dental work of some sort
Emotional pain such as loss of a pet, parent, sibling, child or other significant person.
Fundal Punching/involution (after delivery pain from contractions) This was the reply from second time mom in refresher class.
I learned over the years that there is a wide range of pain tolerance but that the story that the pregnant woman's mother tells her about her own labor pain is probably the most significant imput as to how the pregnant woman expects labor contractions to feel. And how she will tolerate labor and delivery.
Many of my menstrual periods have been far, far worse than labor. I had two home waterbirths, and while they were very intense, they never had me rocking on the floor for several days wishing for morphine or death the way my periods have. I have endometriosis, so it can get pretty bad.